Rory McIlroy is changing equipment

Rory McIlroy is changing equipment

Posted in the Las Vegas Forum

Since: Oct 12

Las Vegas, NV

#1 Dec 4, 2012
McIlroy's choice of shirts and hats isn't particularly important to anybody outside the fashion world. In a golfing sense, there will be scrutiny over how a move to new clubs and another golf ball will affect the world No1's displays. The ball is a particularly crucial issue for any top-level player.

McIlroy has used Titleist discount golf clubs equipment since he was 14, a matter formalized after he turned professional. Those who point out how McIlroy's rapid rise over the past five years mean he shouldn't be of a mind to alter anything ignore what their own thoughts would be if such a lucrative Nike deal which could be worth up to $250m (156m) over a decade was placed before them.

McIlroy must also, privately, value the thought of emulating his boyhood hero, Tiger Woods, who has been Nike's long-time golf icon.

McIlroy has admitted to testing new equipment since the culmination of the Ryder Cup. His assertion that, essentially, all golf clubs for sale online are the same but with separate branding may not have amused his new Nike paymasters.

Still, McIlroy's long-time coach Michael Bannon insists it would be wrong to suggest the 23-year-old could struggle amid adaptation. "He'll have no problems at all with new equipment," says Bannon. "If you look at the clubs he is going to change to, all the shafts are the same. He is also going from blade to blade, which is quite an easy thing to do.

If Bannon is proved correct, another element of hope will have disappeared for those seeking to topple McIlroy from the top of the world. Since his fifth win of the year, in Dubai on Sunday, his lead in the rankings is extensive.

"Rory has improved this season, mentally I think," Bannon adds. "He also learned how to hit a fade and how to control that shot. From about the Bridgestone on, he learned to hold the ball up without it getting away from him left to right. That was the big thing on the course this year; he could control that shot and his wedges a lot more.

"His short game is razor sharp at the minute and that is just another factor. His putting with his favorite scotty cameron putter has improved immensely. He puts a lot of work in; he has had help from Dave Stockton who put a few wee things into his putting which really worked."

McIlroy is now in that envious position of being able to pick and choose when he will compete, as well as whom he will make time for. He will cut down his schedule during 2013 but more intriguing than where the Northern Irishman appears will be his attitude when he does so.

McIlroy shows wonderful maturity for one so young. He has also been amiable and approachable. It would be sad, therefore, if McIlroy were to become the kind of cut-off, monosyllabic character that Woods was molded into from virtually the start of his career. McIlroy has already proved there is no need whatsoever to be that way and is admired for it.

McIlroy claimed the World Championship with characteristic aplomb. After Justin Rose hit the top of the leader board, McIlroy closed with five successive birdies to win by two. Given McIlroy's exploits earlier in the year, it seemed a wholly appropriate sign-off to 2012.

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